Out of all of the mass shooters since the Brady Act went into effect, there were three that might have been stopped had accurate records been on file: Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech) Dylann Roof (Emanuel AME Church) and Devin Kelley (First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas).
None of the rest that passed background checks would have failed them. Being added to the list of prohibited persons requires a conviction, an indictment, a fugitive warrant, a judicial finding of incapacity, proof of use of illegal drugs, a dishonorable discharge from the military, a renunciation of U.S. citizenship or being in the U.S. illegally.
The Second Amendment safeguards a civil right. The Fifth Amendment prohibits depriving a citizen of a civil right without due process of law.
Nikolas Cruz did not meet any of those standards. Not because he didn’t have a history of violence; not because he had not had multiple contacts with law enforcement. He had no records on file because of a school district policy. No records means no grounds to deny the sale of the M&P-15 rifle or any of the other purchases Cruz made.
While they crafted their plans for Columbine High School, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were too young to legally buy a firearm. So they persuaded a female friend to make the purchase for them, which is already a federal offense. They also persuaded a person to sell them a handgun. That person is the only one that ever served time in connection with the Columbine killings: he did two years in prison for selling a handgun to a minor.
Nidal Hasan was an army psychiatrist before he became a killer at Fort Hood.
Now onto your central theme: What on earth makes you believe that a licensing and registration system would work in the United States? It is likely that there are 80 million or more gun owners in America. They own an estimated 300 million firearms. The debate over guns is so polarized that even surveys admit their findings are problematical (at least the honest ones do).
New York passed the SAFE Act in 2013. The act called for the registration of a wide variety of firearms with the state police by 2014. In 2016, the New York State Police were compelled to release compliance data. It showed that the compliance rate was about 4.4%. That’s in New York, a state with a long history of gun regulation.
Not only is creation of a firearm registry prohibited by the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, at least one state, Arizona, has its own law that prohibits registration. How many states do you think would pass similar laws if it came down to it?
What if the people just say “No” to gun registration? How do you intend to round them up? You may well face states that enact laws prohibiting the use of state, county and municipal law enforcement assets to enforce the law. Are you willing to turn this into a major federal vs. state constitutional battle?
Since the beginning of the 21st Century, the number of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed handgun has grown from one to twelve.
This is much like the glib calls to repeal or modify the Second Amendment. That’s not going to happen, either. It takes just 13 states refusing to ratify to kill a change and 44 states have similar language in their own state constitutions.
Expansion of the categories of prohibited persons might be worth investigating but, once again, there is the Fifth Amendment. Failure to incorporate due process will lead to a constitutional challenge and the current Supreme Court is likely to shoot down a law that doesn’t comply with the due process requirement.
Yes, the NRA has become more political. So have Everytown for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign, Gun Owners of America, the Giffords Law Center for Gun Violence and every other partisan group. Failure to admit this is just another sign of the deepening chasm in this issue.
Background checks were doomed to failure by their very nature: the NRA had nothing to do with the fundamental flaw. Checks can only tell about a person’s past: they can’t predict what a person might do in the future.